Saturday, November 16, 2013

Philippine Blu Girls eye spot in 14th world championship

MANILA—Barging into the top three and earning a qualifying spot to next year’s world championships is what the Philippine national women’s softball team is aiming for when it competes in the 14th Women’s Softball World Championship Asian qualifier later this month in Chinese Taipei.
“Ten of them played in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia, where they won the gold.. The players have been practicing since August, and they are young, fast and strong,” Amateur Softball Association of the Philippines operations manager Ismael Veloso said during the Scoop Forum yesterday. Some of them have also played in the Little League World Series. I hope the team does will and we’ll advance to the world championships.

The Blu Girls will be competing against defending Asian champion and 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong and host Chinese Taipei where three berths to next year’s world championships in the , Netherlands are at stake.
The Ana Santiago-coached team is set to leave on Nov. 24 in time for their opening game against Chinese Taipei the following day. The Blu Girls will have a pair of double headers on Nov. 26, against China in the morning and Japan in the afternoon, and Nov. 27 against Hong Kong and South Korea.
The top four teams of the single-round robin tournament will advance into the playoffs on Nov. 28 and the no. 1 seed will face the no. 4 team, while the No. 2 and No. 3 will face each other.
The winners of the knockout semifinals collide for the title with the winner securing a spot to the world championships. The second and third placers will also advance.
The Philippines last qualified to the world championships in 1998, dropping all of its seven matches to finish eighth in Group 2.
The Philippines also qualified in 1990 when it placed 12th out of 20 teams and in 1970, ending up third behind champion Japan and runner-up USA.
Veterans Sarah Agravante, the team captain and who plays at right/center field, and third base Karina Arcibal will have another tour of duty after leading the Blu Girls to the 2011 Southeast Asian Games gold medal.
Elma Parohinog, Luzviminda Embudo, Alexandra Zuluaga, Queeny Sabobo, Marlyn Francisco, Kriska Piad, Veronica Belleza, Julie Marie Muyco, Rizza Bernardino Annalie Benjamen, Shaira Damasing, Arianne Valestero, Lorn Adorable, Angelie Ursabia and Cristy Joy Roa are the other members of the team.

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